Gaining Traction After Repeated Relapses – Why an Incremental Approach to Addiction...

Gaining Traction After Repeated Relapses – Why an Incremental Approach to Addiction Recovery Does not Work

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Are you relapsing over and over again because you are using a flawed incremental approach to your recovery efforts?

I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years until I finally surrendered.  In one moment, everything changed, and I knew that I had stopped fighting for control over alcohol.  I was finished.  I felt relief.

I am not sure why I was blessed with that moment of surrender but I can assure you that my success in recovery this time around was not due to an incremental approach.  Rather, it was due to a “jump in with both feet off the high dive approach.”

I went to detox, went to short term rehab, and I begged them for long term.  They put me in a long term rehab and I lived there for 20 months.  You could say this was the “massive action” approach to recovery.

Now I do realize that not everyone who gets clean and sober will go through the exact same process that I went through.  I realize this.

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BUT, I believe that their basic process of getting sober is going to be very similar.  The process I followed got me sober.  If you mirror my process then you can get sober too.

Not my exact actions, mind you…..not everyone needs long term rehab, for example.  But I would argue that anyone who wants to break out of a pattern of relapse has to:

* Surrender more fully to the idea that they are alcoholic.  They may admit it on one level but if they continue to drink then they have not fully accepted their alcoholic condition at the deepest level.  They are still holding on to a shred of denial, thinking that it might one day work out well for them to keep drinking.  At some level, they must not be fully surrendered to their disease.

* Ask for more help this time around.  Agree to get more help for their problem than what they have sought out in the past.  Have you tried stuff in the past to get sober?  Have you tried counseling, treatment, meetings, church, etc….and failed to stay sober?  You need to do more.  If you cannot do it alone (be honest with yourself on this) then you need to ask for help.  If you did that already and it failed then you need to do MORE of it.  Immerse yourself deeper into a recovery solution than what you did in the past.  Commit to it more heavily.  Ask for help and then follow through MORE than you did in the past.

* Commit to do more for their recovery than what they have in the past.

Stop inching your way toward recovery and jump into it head first.  Surrender fully, commit fully, and ask for help without any reservation.  Stop doing these things in a half hearted manner.

Ask yourself: “Do I really want to be clean and sober and have a new life in recovery?  Do I really want to be free from chemicals?”

If the answer is “yes” then it is time to stop using an incremental approach where you just make small changes from the last time that you tried to get sober, and start making BIG changes instead this time around.

Evaluate your past effort and then figure out how to do something radically different

Look at what you did in the past to try and get sober.  Repeated relapses show that it did not work.

What are you going to do this time that is radically different?

The key word here is “radically” different.  If all you do is change one little thing with your new approach, then you are likely just fooling yourself.  Same old thing, same results.

Instead, so something really different.

Go check into rehab.
Go live in long term treatment.
Go join a church and get involved with the community.
Go get heavily involved with 12 step meetings.
Volunteer to start taking meetings or groups into jails or institutions for troubled youths.
Go get a sponsor and actually build a relationship with them.
Go get so heavily involved in exercise that you build relationships around the idea and create a whole new lifestyle for yourself.

Go big. Don’t just make a tiny incremental change each time you try to get sober and expect a miracle. Do something big. Get radical.

This is how to gain traction after a relapse. Get radical and take massive action in your quest for sobriety.

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